The friendship between George HW Bush and Bill Clinton is one that goes back to the time after Clinton won the 1992 election and was in the midst of the transition. People have thought this to be strange considering how the two campaigns went at each other during the campaign.
It’s not an unheard of phenomenon. Unfortunately, we live in a hyper-partisan culture where people allow politics to end relationships and friendships. Over the weekend, Bill Clinton tweeted the following:
— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) April 9, 2017
I love this. Here are two men from two completely different backgrounds, political philosophies, and world views yet they have a friendship that has lasted 25 years. Such a thing gets celebrated outside of politics. However, people on both sides (not all of them) reacted as though this was a meeting of two monsters and neither should be friends with the other.
Politics in Washington D.C. is more partisan than ever before, and it has wormed its way into society. Everything is political these days, and it’s as if people cannot enjoy themselves without being lectured one way or the other by somebody saying it’s “wrong” to indulge because of a perceived slight. “Oh, you can’t see that movie because the actor is a liberal and donates to Democrats!” or “That country music star supported Trump. How can you possibly listen to him?”
Politics used to be about ideology. Now it’s tribal, so it is all about “sides” and “teams.” Critical of Donald Trump? You’re “helping the left.” And it’s not just opposing ideological spectrums either. Tribal politics exist within political ideologies. Some conservatives bash Trump at every turn for the sake of bashing him and call those who defend Trump, not out of loyalty to him, but in direct opposition to media coverage or Democratic nonsense, “Trump apologists.”
At some point, people have to understand that for many people, politics does not shape our lives. So many of us live and move in the political world. But there is a whole other world out there. It’s why I cannot stand to see people bemoaning the lack of politics in baseball or other areas of life. Sometimes we want that escape.
Bill Clinton and George HW Bush learned to put aside politics and got to know each other, not as political adversaries, but as people. They’ve had a long friendship and that is something to be celebrated, not castigated.